Availability of Safe and Affordable Housing is crucial to the progress of Lake County. Lack of it deters businesses from expanding into our communities, who opt for communities with greater access to available workforce resources.
I had a conversation with Dr. Ben Carson in March, thanking him and HUD for putting pressure on our local Housing Authorities and demanding they improve on the quality and safety of our housing programs.
This last audit by HUD uncovered over 700 violations in 78 housing units for one housing authority in Lake County, many of them serious safety violations. Violations ranged from uncapped gas lines to raw sewage in a basement to circuit breakers tampered with to prevent them from properly tripping when overloaded.
As a result of the audit, the North Chicago Housing Authority is being told to pay back to HUD over $150,000 in non federal funds. This costs taxpayers.
It is hard to believe, based on the facts of the audit, that inspections on these units were even performed prior to their passing the Housing Inspection process. Yet even senior management was part of the pre-audit inspection process.
In addition to the obvious fiscal and business reasons, this is a humanitarian issue. Public funds should not be spent to private companies who subject their tenants unsafe and unclean conditions. It is the job of our Housing Authorities to guarantee a safe place for families and individuals to live.
Here is a link to the HUD Summary: https://www.hudoig.gov/index.php/reports-publications/audit-reports/housing-authority-city-north-chicago-north-chicago-il-did-not
Here is a link to the full HUD audit: https://www.hudoig.gov/sites/default/files/2018-12/2019-CH-1001.pdf